Modern Germany: From 1871 to the Present

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 3306
Modern Germany: From 1871 to the Present
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 2 hours per week / semester

Seminar: 2 hours per week / semester

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Course Description
HIST 3306, Modern Germany, explores the social, economic, political and cultural forces that shaped Germany from unification in 1871 to the present day. Major themes include: geography, borderlands and peoples; German national identity and state formation; liberalism, militarism and absolutism; industrialization, imperialism and foreign expansion; Germany and the shifting balance of power in Europe; gender, sexuality, and social change; economic, political and cultural upheavals; National Socialism and the Third Reich; global wars and genocide; reconstruction and the division of Germany; East and West Germany in the Cold War; reunification and the creation of the European Union; remembrance, commemoration and public memory of modern German history; Germany in the twenty-first century.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1. Setting the Scene: Geographic and Regional Diversities
  2. Bismarck’s Germany: Industrialization and its Consequences
  3. Wilhelmine Germany: Kaiser, Krupp, and Kultur
  4. The Global Impact of German Imperialism
  5. World War One and its Aftermath
  6. The Weimar Republic: Political Turmoil, Modernist Culture, and Economic Decline
  7. The Rise of National Socialism and the Third Reich
  8. World War Two: Living Space and Genocide
  9. From Total War to Unconditional Surrender
  10. Reconstruction and the Reinvention of Europe
  11. East and West Germany in the Cold War
  12. Reunification and its Challenges
  13. Coming to Terms with the Past
  14. Germany and the World in the Twenty-First Century
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation 10%

Seminar presentations 10%

Primary document analyses 20%

Comparative book review or historiographic essay 10%

Research proposal and annotated bibliography 10%

Research essay 25%

Final exam 15%

Total 100%

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional resources, including works of fiction, autobiographies, and films may also be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific digital resources may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.

Fulbrook, Mary. History of Germany, 1918-2014: The Divided Nation, 4th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

Kitchen, Martin. A History of Modern Germany, 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

Orlow, Dietrich. A History of Modern Germany: 1871 to Present, 8th ed. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Scheck, Raffael. Germany 1871 to 1945: A Concise History. New York: Berg, 2008.


One 2000-level History course, or permission of the instructor